Pathan was the star bowler for India during the ODI series
Former Pakistan captain and pace bowling legend Wasim Akram believes that Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan deserves to represent his country more often after his excellent series against Sri Lanka.
Akram also noted that Pathan was currently the best player to fill the vacant all-rounder slot.
“He only needs a longer run to get his confidence back. I think Pathan is a better choice than any other all-rounder in India. He has improved a lot. I think it’s important for Pathan and India that they need somebody at number seven or eight who can bowl and bat and this guy has got the ability,” Akram said.
Pathan was added to the roster for the Sri Lanka series after Vinay Kumar pulled out due to a shoulder injury.
In the past, Pathan has been well below his best and was dropped from the side after a less than impressive showing with the ball in Australia and during the Asia Cup, in which he took only 11 wickets from seven matches.
Meanwhile, Akram stated that he was very excited to see Yuvraj Singh make his return after battling with a rare form of germ cell cancer.
“He is a very strong man, he’s been through a lot and I think he’ll be fine. Once Yuvraj starts playing he might not do well in one or two games, but once he gets his fitness back, he’ll be Yuvraj of the old. I can’t wait to see him,” Akram said.
Singh has made a miracle return by being named in the 15-man squad that will represent India in the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20, which will be hosted by Sri Lanka next month.
Akram was also pleased with the selectors decision to include Lakshmipathy Balaji in the squad as well.
“Balaji is only 30 and I am glad that Indian selectors picked him. He is experienced with the slower bouncers, yorkers, and swings the new ball as well, I think Balaji will be very handy and useful for India. I know him very well as he plays for my team Kolkata Knight Riders. He has clever bowling strategies and a very good mindset,” Akram added.
Balaji last represented India against Sri Lanka in February 2009.
With India winning their recent ODI series against Sri Lanka 4-1, Akram stated that players should have gotten a feel for the conditions they will face in the World Twenty20, and hopefully use it to their advantage.